The Perfect Pair of Jeans

Megan Larussa Head Shot

My friend Megan LaRussa Chenowith, style coach and style blogger at Southern Femme, is back today for a short lesson on how to find the perfect pair of jeans. I admit, I don’t always know which jeans to hold onto and which have outlived their style. Thanks, Megan, for giving us the “cheat sheet” on this question! Here’s Megan…

Recently when cleansing a client’s closet this exact topic of denim came up.

We were sifting through a heaping pile of her jeans (most that she didn’t even wear anymore) and with each jean we looked at she turned to me and said, ‘well they fit, but are they even current?’.

It was an excellent question to ask because jean styles DO come and go, and even certain classic styles sometimes need to be put on the ‘keep but don’t wear now’ shelf in your closet.

This got me to thinking… if my clients are asking me these questions then other women must be wondering the same thing! So, if you have ever wondered what type of jeans to hold on to, which ones to wear, and which ones to toss, then this week’s Style Secrets with Megan video is for you!

How to Find the Perfect Pair of Jeans from Megan LaRussa on Vimeo.

Thanks as always for watching and happy jean shopping!

Yours in Style,

Megan

P.S. Need a lil extra style help this spring? Don’t forget I offer one-on-one Style Strategy Sessions to get you out of your style rut and into looking and feeling your best! Click HERE for my Style Yourself Chic in 30 Days program!

Finish Max Paint Sprayer Giveaway

UPDATE: This giveaway has now closed, and our winner is #22, Susanne! Congrats, Susanne!

A few weeks ago, I told you about the Finish Max paint sprayer by HomeRight. I used it to make over a $17 glider that I found at the thrift store, which eventually landed itself in the aTeam Ministries apartment. When I spotted the glider in the thrift store, I knew it has potential to become a place where mamas (or daddies) could rock a sweet little babe to sleep.

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All it took was a little elbow grease. I tightened up a few loose screws to give it stability. I used my Finish Max sprayer to spray it with chocolate brown paint to match the crib.

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The Finish Max paint sprayer made this job super easy. I stitched a new cover for the pillow out of fabric I found on the clearance table at the fabric store. I was quite pleased with the way the glider looked after just a little effort.

alt="Finish Max Sprayer"

The gracious folks at HomeRight would like to give one of YOU a Finish Max paint sprayer! Isn’t that fun? I absolutely LOVE mine, and I have used it on several projects since I got it. You guys know how much I paint furniture, and the Finish Max has saved me HOURS of painting time. You just can’t beat a good paint sprayer when it comes to painting small cracks and crevices!

Leave me a comment and let me know what kind of painting project you need to tackle. I’ll randomly choose one winner next Friday to receive a Finish Max paint sprayer from HomeRight.

Don’t want to fool with entering the giveaway? No problem! You can order a Finish Max paint sprayer today!

Stitchfix: Your Questions Answered

A few months ago I signed up for Stitchfix. I’d heard about it around the internet and seen pictures of some really cute clothes, so I decided to take the plunge. My first Stitchfix box came Friday, and I was quite pleased with it. Since several people have asked about it, I wanted to give you the low-down in case you want to sign up for it, too.

The first step is to go to Stitchfix.com and fill out your style profile. They ask you a ton of questions so that they can get an idea of your size, shape, and style. Questions include things like your hair color, age, bra size, height, whether you like fitted or loose clothing, whether you prefer classic, Bohemian, romantic, or preppy styles. You get the idea. They’ll even show you several outfit collections and ask you to rate them. They ask you how often you attend dressy events, business casual events, casual events. They also give you the ability to choose a price range that you’d like to spend on items. And you can link your Pinterest fashion boards to your profile, and they really do check them out before they select your items.

Each month (or however often you specify) they will send you 5 items to try. You try them on and decide what to keep. If you send them all back, you are charged a $20 fee. If you keep one or more items, your $20 fee is applied to the item. If you keep all 5, you get 25% off everything.

Sounds great so far, right? But this kind of thing only works if you really, really like the items they send you. To give you an idea of what they would send, I’ll share a little of my profile:

  • I’m 5’2″.
  • I’m apple shaped, meaning I carry any excess weight in my stomach/bust area and not in my legs.
  • I prefer styles that are classic, preppy, bohemian chic, with a few pieces that are edgy. I do not usually choose pieces that are glamorous or romantic.
  • I’m a mom who typically wears laid back/casual clothes, but I’m looking to build up by dressy/business casual wardrobe.
  • I’d like to avoid wool.
  • My preferred price range for most clothing is $50-$100.
  • I sometimes like trying new trends and brands.
  • For my skin tone, I prefer to avoid clothing in yellows, navy, purple, or pinks.

And here are the items that I received in my first shipment:

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The pale green dolman sleeve top was cute, but fit a bit funny for me. I never could get it adjusted just right and felt like I fidgeted with it constantly. The white jeans were a dream. They had the perfect amount of stretch without falling down. The length was even perfect, which doesn’t happen often when you’re 5’2″. The handbag was cute and versatile. It was a different style than I’d normally choose for myself, which was kind of fun.

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The flowy peach top was terrific. It was a gauzy fabric with beautiful stitching around the neckline. The white jeans are the same from the first picture. The same handbag is shown here, but I’ve removed the shoulder strap.

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The gold bar necklace was dainty and sweet. This would be a great versatile piece that you could wear everyday.

So here’s what I ended up with:

Green Knit Dolman Top: Sending back because the fit wasn’t right. Great color, though, and I’d love to have something else this color.
White Jeans: It pains me to say it, but I’m sending these back. I already own white jeans and can’t justify buying another pair. I asked for these same jeans in another color in a future shipment.
Peach top: Sending back because it was a little sing in the bust line. I really loved this top and told them to send similar items in future shipments.
Handbag: Sending back. It was a great color and a new style for me, but Jonathan gave me a really nice handbag in this color last year.
Gold Bar Necklace: Sending back. While it is a great piece, it’s a little too dainty for me. I need chunkier necklaces. If you look in the two outfit photos, you can’t even see that I’m wearing the necklace. A small dainty necklace just doesn’t show up on my.

All in all, even though I’m sending it all back, I feel like the stylists nailed my style. We just need to work on getting the correct fit. I have to say, it was really fun seeing what a stylist would choose for me. There were several pieces I wouldn’t have chosen for myself, and it was fun to step outside of my box a little bit. I got notice that my June items have already been chosen, and I am super excited to see what they send next time!!

If Stitchfix looks like something you’d like to try, go to the Stitchfix website and start filling in your style profile. They have a great referral program, as well. For each friend who you bring to Stitchfix, they give you a $25 credit to apply to your purchases. (That’s why those are affiliate links.) Y’all get to Stitchfixing. I want to see pictures of what they send you!

Swoozie’s Grand Re-Opening

If you’re local to Birmingham, you might want to check out the grand re-opening going on this Saturday at Swoozie’s. Swoozie’s is one of my go-to spots for printed invitations, cute party supplies, tween gifts, and baby shower happies. They are staying in the Summit, but they’ve moved down by Bed, Bath, and Beyond. This means they have tons of parking – one of the problems of their old location.They are hosting an open house at their new location on Saturday, May 3rd, from 11:00-2:00. They will serve mimosas, give away door prizes, and have lots of discounts.

Swoozie’s hosted a preview party for bloggers on Wednesday night, and I stopped by to see their new inventory. I wanted this sign for my home. Isn’t that sweet?

sign

Lilly Pulitzer was well represented in the party supplies!

lilly

As always, they had tons of cute bags. Many of these can be monogrammed.

bags

They had a gorgeous line of frames. These came in a variety of colors, including pink and blue for the bebes.

frame

And these chew beads are my new baby gift! They are made of a soft rubbery material that is great for teething babies to chew on. I’d totally wear these even though we have long since moved on from that stage at our house!!

chew beads

Y’all stop by Swoozie’s and congratulate them on their new place. It’s going to be much more comfortable and convenient for everybody!

aTeam Apartment Reveal: Dining Room and Den

It’s time for the final reveal of the aTeam Ministries apartment. We have already shown you the children’s bedroom and the master suite, so today it’s time to take a look at the dining room and den. Generous donors had already given much of the furniture for this space, including a dining room table and chairs, a sofa, a loveseat, and a coffee table. Most of what I did in this space was to accessorize and add a couple of new pieces of furniture. One of the kindest and most beautiful donations aTeam received was this breathtaking angel painting.

ateam apartment

It is HUGE – probably 5 ft x 5 ft. It is fabulous in the living space, and such a constant reminder that God’s presence is with us and He sends His angels to minister to us. This piece became the anchor around which we chose the rest of the furnishings. We used the existing brown sofa and loveseat, but threw in new throw pillows and blankets to give the room a splash of color.

ateam apartment

We still needed a little something to anchor the room, and so the generous folks at Mohawk Flooring donated yet another rug – this one a large rug to fit the space. The colors and pattern could not have been more perfect. We wanted to create a warm, inviting, comfortable space, and this rug helped pull that look together!

ateam apartment

A few weeks before we started this project, the ladies at More Than A Mission Trip asked for suggestions on what kinds of projects they could help support. I spoke up immediately on behalf of aTeam, and they were kind enough to choose us as one of their charities. They sent us the money to buy this beautiful red desk. Families who stay at the apartment now have a place to do school work, work on the computer, pay bills, write notes, or whatever else they need to do. Thank you More Than A Mission Trip!!

ateam ministries

As we move into the dining area, there are many more generous donations. Someone gave the table and chairs that we used.

ateam apartment

FLOR Carpet Tiles sent us a box of carpet tiles to make a rug. I’ve never used these before, but was so surprised at how simple they were to put together. My little bit helped me lay out the pattern I wanted, and then we taped them on the under side using the heavy duty stickers that come in the set.

aTeam apartment

Once we had them all taped together, we flipped it over and put it in place under the table.

ateam apartment

It took us about 10 minutes to put it together, and we even have leftover squares to use as spares.

Y’all, I could never have imagined a project like this coming together without so many generous sponsors. I was privileged to have the opportunity to serve aTeam in this way. If you’re looking for an easy way to support aTeam further, check out their online store where you can purchase awesome t-shirts. You can also become a volunteer, be a prayer partner, or make a financial donation. God bless you as you support them and God bless aTeam as they continue to support pediatric cancer families.

aTeam Apartment Reveal: Master Bedroom and Bath

A couple of months ago, we introduced you to our partnership with aTeam Ministries. aTeam was started a few years ago by our friends Jan and Andy Thrower. After their son went through pediatric cancer (and is now a happy, healthy six year old), Andy and Jan became aware of the unique and overwhelming challenges that pediatric cancer families endure. The horrendous experience of childhood leaves parents in emotional, spiritual, financial, and sometimes physical despair. aTeam seeks to minister to these families by providing services care bags when kids are unexpectedly hospitalized and parents haven’t packed a bag, family fun days at Alabama and Auburn (even meeting the team on some occasions), and financial aid with groceries, gas, medicine, and bills. They meet every week to pray for the children and their families. Their home away from home program provides a place to stay while families are in Birmingham for their children to receive treatment. That’s where we came in.

We were so happy to have the opportunity to help aTeam collect furnishings for the new place. We revealed the children’s bedroom to you a few weeks back. Today, we are ready to give you a look at the master bedroom and bathroom. We really tried to create a space that was not only beautiful, but also functional. We wanted parents to have a quiet, comfortable place to unwind after a long day at the clinic or hospital.

A generous donor gave us money for the master bedroom bedding. We definitely could not pull off a project like this without the financial support of private and corporate donors, and the friends of aTeam Ministries really came through for us.

ateam apartment

Since most of the people staying in the aTeam apartment aren’t there for long, we wanted to give plenty of place to store luggage.

ateam apartment

My sister-in-law Cecily Hill Lowe, who is a very talented artist, generously gave us two of her latest paintings for the master bedroom. They are calm and peaceful, and they looked perfect in the space.

ateam apartment

Since the parents will not need the HUGE master closet in the apartment, we opted for turning it into a nursery. We have lots of families that have babies, and having a nursery allows parents and babies to stay with their regular sleeping arrangements instead of trying to sleep together in the same room. We all know how little sleep a parent gets with a small baby sleeping in the room.

ateam apartment

And many thanks to the sweet folks at HomeRight for sending me a Finish Max paint sprayer, which I used on a fun little project for the nursery. Every nursery needs a rocker, right? I found a diamond in the rough at the thrift store that I knew would be perfect with just a little elbow grease.

ateam apartment

The Finish Max sprayer made this job really simple. I gave it a fresh coat of paint to match the crib and pieced together a new cover for the cushions. And I do mean PIECED together! I am no seamstress!! But I do love the way it looked when finished, and I love the fact that mamas and babies now have a quiet little corner.

ateam apartment

And finally, the master bathroom. The master bath is a large space that is already well decorated. It has lovely dark wood cabinets, great granite, and beautiful tile. It only took a few finishing touches to make it complete.

ateam apartment

ateam apartment

The shower curtain was a gift from a generous donor. The rug was a generous gift from Mohawk Flooring. They were so kind to donate several rugs for the apartment, including both of the bath rugs, and another special piece I’ll show you later.

ateam apartment

Thanks so much to the major sponsors to these rooms: Cecily Hill Lowe, HomeRight, and Mohawk Flooring. We also thank the private donors who provided the bedding, shower curtains, and accessories. We definitely could not have provided such a nice place to pediatric cancer families without all of you chipping in!

Birmingham Parade of Homes

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This weekend I had the privilege of spending a few hours at the 2014 Birmingham Parade of Homes Ideal Home. It is an absolutely stunning home in the Ross Bridge neighborhood of Hoover, and it was built by Murphy Home Builders. The incredible interiors on this home were a joint project between the builder and interior designer Bee Martin Little at Set to Sell Staging. I promised you a full tour last week, so without further ado…

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As you enter the home through the foyer, the formal dining room is immediately to your left. Though it is considered the “formal” dining room, the room’s relaxed feel makes it much more comfortable and inviting than a traditional stuffy dining room.

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alt="Birmingham Parade of Homes"

The color of the walls is Sherwin Williams’s Intellectual Grey, and it is accented by a beautiful patterned tone-on-tone wallpaper on one accent wall.

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And it is crowned with a lovely tray ceiling and two gorgeous lantern pendants.

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Connecting the dining room to the kitchen is a wonderful butler’s pantry.

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Though a butler’s pantry is typically a small room, even the smallest details received attention.

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The butler’s pantry leads you into the to-die-for kitchen.

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Can’t you imagine entertaining family and friends in this gorgeous and well-planned space?

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alt="Birmingham Parade of Homes"

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The kitchen adjoins the family room.

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And just off the back side of the kitchen and family room is a lovely breakfast room that has windows on three sides. Oh, the beautiful natural light in this cozy space!

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This built-in bench provides a ton of seating!

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Just out the back door is a lovely outdoor room, complete with lots of seating, a TV, and a fireplace to warm the space on cool nights.

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The master bedroom suite is a calm, peaceful retreat. It would be the perfect space to end a long day.

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The gorgeous paint color is Sherwin Williams’s Sea Salt.

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The artwork in the room ties it all together wonderfully.

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And the room is toped off with this beautiful tray ceiling with white-washed pine planks and distressed chandelier.

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The bedrooms flows right into the master bath, which is a lovely combination of marble, tile, beautiful fixtures, and bold pattern.

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alt="Birmingham Parade of Homes"

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Heading downstairs, there is a man cave with another complete kitchen.

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alt="Birmingham Parade of Homes"

The downstairs area also features a large media room, a small game room, a guest bedroom, and a full bathroom. Upstairs boasts, several bedrooms (I lost count. Maybe four??), an additional kids’ media room, and several more bathrooms. Needless to say, there is plenty of room in this home for family and guests. But the things that make it so special are the details.

Like the wallpaper accent wall in the guest bathroom…

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The drink fridge in the kitchen island…

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The detail on the interior doors…

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The stunning light fixtures…

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The octagon tile in the kids’ bath…

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And the stamped and stained concrete sidewalk…

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Somebody is going to be very happy raising their family in this home!

The Parade of Homes continues next weekend, April 12 and 13, from 10:00-6:00 on Saturday and 1:00-6:00 on Sunday. There are 77 homes on the Parade this year, so get out and see as many of them as you can.

2014 Birmingham Parade of Homes Starts This Weekend

You guys know how much I love to look through Pinterest and design blogs to get ideas for beautiful home decorating. You know what I love even better than that? Seeing beautiful homes in person! This weekend is the first of two weekends for the Birmingham Home Builders’ Parade of Homes. If you love touring gorgeous homes as much as I do, join me Saturday from 10:00 til 1:00 at the Birmingham Ideal Home located in Ross Bridge. I’ll be there with the B-Metro blogging team, along with Beth at Unskinny Boppy. I had the opportunity to tour this gorgeous home built by Murphy Homes at the kick-off party on Thursday night, and y’all, it is absolutely FABULOUS!

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Here are a few sneak peeks of the house:

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alt="2014 Birmingham Parade of Homes"

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alt="2014 Birmingham Parade of Homes"

I’ll be back next week with a full tour of the home, but in the meantime come on out to the Parade and see it yourself! The Parade is this weekend, April 4-5 and next weekend, April 11-12. The homes are open to the public on Saturday from 10:00-6:00 and Sunday from 1:00-6:00. This is a FREE event, and you are welcome to bring cameras and take lots of pictures. If you can’t make it to the Ideal Home in Ross Bridge, there are 76 other homes on the Parade, and they are all worth seeing.

To follow along with our social media coverage tomorrow, be sure to “like” The Hill Hangout on Facebook and follow The Hill Hangout on Twitter. Also, you can follow the Greater Birmingham Parade of Homes on their Facebook page and on Twitter. While on Twitter and Instagram, be sure to check out the #BhamParade hashtag to see lots of photos.

All photos courtesy of Murphy Homes.

Spring is Here – Let the Projects Begin!

Happy first day of spring! I don’t know about you, but I am so happy to see winter come to an end. Don’t get me wrong, winter has it’s place. It’s absolutely necessary for the earth and for our souls to go through a season of cold, wet, darkness for the old to die away and make room for the new growth of spring. But by the time that season of lifelessness is over, I’m jumping out of my skin to see the “new thing” God is doing.

I have a million and one projects to do around the house, and right now they are all swirling around in my head. I’m standing at the brink of being overwhelmed by how much I’d like to get done. It’s at these times that I know I need to pull out a notebook and get it all in a list. Somehow getting the ideas out of my head and onto paper make them seem less urgent and more manageable. I can rest easy that I’ve given them a place of permanence before they fly away and I’m left scratching my head wondering where my inspiration went.

First on my list will be to neaten up my painting space and get a few pieces of furniture ready to sell. My workshop area was left in an unfinished state when freezing temp hit, making it unbearable to use. I have several pieces that are half finished. I want to move them on to completion so I can make room for new pieces.

Also on my list is to finish power washing the driveway. We started that project last year, and somehow in the middle we lost steam. I love the look of a fresh, clean driveway and sidewalk. It makes the entire look neater and more trim.

I’ve been planning to paint my master bedroom and our den for months, maybe years. Somehow we haven’t found the time or energy to begin, but I am redoubling my effort to knock out this project. Once we get started, I know we won’t want to stop until we’re finished. I’m sure it will look so much better we’ll wonder why we couldn’t get motivated to do it sooner. I’m trusting in that, anyway.

As I look around my house I see that some of my accessories need freshening up. A few are becoming dated, so I’m scouring Pinterest to see how I can update a few areas without spending a ton of money.

What about you? Does spring bring about the urge to work on projects around your home? What kinds of things do you look forward to completing?

Bananas Foster

Last weekend I attended the Builders and Remodelers Expo here in town. My husband’s company, Innovative Surfaces, always has a booth, and it’s just a great time to see all the new products and services that the home-building industry has to offer. We saw some very cool lighting and outdoor furniture in the Gadsden Lighting booth:

gadsden

We checked out the residential line of Viking appliances from Southern Kitchen and Bath. They are less expensive than Viking’s commercial line, but still maintain the integrity of the Viking name:

viking

And we tried our best to win this fire pit from Alabama Brick. It costs less than $400, and it goes together in about 30 minutes.

firepit

But I couldn’t leave there without snagging Chef Nick Hartman’s recipe for Bananas Foster. Nick is the cooking expert for Alabama Power, and they were cooking Bananas Foster and featuring their induction cook top. It can boil water in 90 seconds, but it is cool to the touch. Pretty cool!

So here is the recipe, which was the highlight of the show:

4 bananas
1/2 cup clear rum
2 oz butter
1 teaspoon banana liqueur
2 tablespoons brown sugar
406 scoops vanilla ice cream

Over medium heat, melt the butter with the brown sugar. (I didn’t get a picture, so I found this one online. Hope Ree Drummond doesn’t mind!)

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When butter and sugar are melted together, add sliced bananas. Add the banana liqueur, turning and basting the bananas thoroughly.

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With heat on high, add the rum and flame.

flame

Serve immediately over vanilla ice cream.

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